August 19, 2011, - 7:06 pm

Wknd Box Office: Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night, One Day, The Guard, Point Blank

By Debbie Schlussel

It’s mid-August, the pet cemetery to which Hollywood studios send all of the worst movies to die a quick death.  So, it’s no surprise that the best new movies, this weekend, are a remake of an ’80s vampire flick and a French action thriller arthouse movie.  “Spy Kids:  All the Time in the World in 4D” was not screened for critics.

Conan the Barbarian“:  Absolutely awful.  Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t have much to worry about with regard to Jason Momoa (best known for his role on “Baywatch Hawaii”) replacing him as undefeated Conan.  This movie was long, boring, pointless, confusing, stupid, and extremely bloody and violent for no reason. A more apt title is “Pirates of the I Don’t Care-ibbean,” since it has scenes with pirates and water.  I so badly wanted to walk out on this movie throughout, but had to stay in order to review it.  1.5 hours of life I’ll never get back.  Thanks, Hollywood.

The original Conan movie, starring Schwarzenegger, was known to be very violent for its time, but it’s a G-rating compared to this slaughter-fest and bloodletting.  Think, “Saw:  The Ancient Times.”

Conan, the son of Ron “The Jewish Barbarian” Perlman,  watches his father get murdered by a rival tribe seeking the last piece of a powerful, magical mask.  With the mask in hand, the evil king of the tribe needs the blood of a monk (oddly, a female who has sex with Conan–I thought monks were dudes who are celibate) in order to obtain the masks power.  Conan tries to save the monk-ette, sleeps with her, and ultimately, she is captured by the rival king and his evil daughter.  The evil daughter wears platform boots a la Lady Gaga.  Who knew bizarro designers from the “Born This Way” tour were around back in the Barbarian age?

Like I said, so stupid, so pointless, so  . . . well, just avoid it at all cost.  It stank. The movie is 3D for no apparent valid reason.

FOUR MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Fright Night“: This is a remake of the 1985 movie of the same name. I did not see the original, but I understand the story is similar. And the movie, while not a great movie, is entertaining and enjoyable in a cheesy/campy way.

Real-life Russian Jewish immigrant Anton Yelchin plays an average high-school teen-age boy in the Nevada suburbs. He’s one of the popular kids and has a cute, blonde girlfriend. His former childhood best friend is now one of the unpopular kids and warns him that his new next door neighbor, Colin Farrell, is a vampire and kills people. Yelchin doesn’t believe him, until he suddenly finds neighbors and fellow students missing and puts two and two together.

While not a masterpiece, it’s fine and somewhat fun. Despite graphic violence, blood, and language issues, it’s aimed at teens and 20-somethings, but if you’re a little older, you still might find it okay. People I know who’ve seen the original liked that one better.

Colin Farrell is good as a vampire (I always thought he looked like one, anyway), and I enjoyed the Vegas magician/phony vampire slayer character, too. This is in 3D.

ONE REAGAN
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “One Day“: This lifelong romance movie is boring, dull, stilted, and lacks spark. It’s a chick flick and is heavily weighed down by the annoying Anne Hatha-Neigh, er . . . Hathaway and her absolutely horrid fake English accent. She and Jim Sturgess play star-crossed lovers who spend the night together when they are graduating college. Thereafter, we see them over the years on the same date, June 15th–which is a British holiday or something. Sometimes they are together, sometimes not. Sometimes, he is pining for her, sometimes she for him–but never at the same time. It’s predictable. You know what happens. But you won’t care, nor will I. Seemed like five hours long. Hated both these people and couldn’t have cared less whether or not they finally got together. Will you care? Not likely. And the point of this movie was? Not sure. Again, don’t care. Save your ten bucks.

TWO MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Guard“: This is a cop buddy movie, but not your typical cop buddy movie. It was a little over the top and not my kind of movie, but it might be yours. Brendan Gleeson is an Irish cop who likes hookers, booze, and drugs. An FBI agent, Don Cheadle, comes to Ireland to investigate and bust an international drug smuggling ring run by local Irish gangsters. At first, they do not get along, but they grow to like each other. The movie is mostly about them, not the investigation (though there is some of that). This was kind of slow for me, and not that funny for a movie that’s supposed to be something of a comedy.

ONE-HALF MARX
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Point Blank [A Bout Portant]“: This is a French thriller with English-language subtitles. It’s fun, fast, and a thriller involving criminals, corrupt cops, a male nurse, and his pregnant wife. It has non-stop action, car chases, and goes by very fast.

The story: a male nurse in training catches a man trying to kill a patient. After returning home to tell his pregnant wife what a hero he is, he finds an intruder who beats him and kidnaps his wife. He’s told via cellphone that if he ever wants to see his wife again, he must help free the man in the hospital–the patient another man had tried to kill. The man, it turns out, is a wanted criminal. The nurse does as he is told, but doesn’t exactly get his wife back. Instead, he and the criminal patient he’s just freed are framed for the murder of a high-ranking police detective. He spends the movie trying to find his wife and save her, while fending off corrupt cops and the honest ones who believe he committed murder.

Enjoyable, quick, entertaining, thriller.

TWO-AND-A-HALF REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

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31 Responses

I’m so glad it’s Friday and I get to read your reviews!

LOL’d at your apt take on the horrible Anne Hathaway. I wish her last name was Go-away. The only two who get me aggro than seeing her are the Gyllanhaal siblings…oh, and add in Ellen Page for good measure.

The original “Fright Night” was VERY good. I enjoyed it so much. Really funny and cute. Good stuff! The only thing good about “Fright Night 2” was the movie poster.

Skunky on August 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Anton Yelchin is probably the only actor in his age group who has worn a Star of David once in a while in photoshoots. Very cool.

dee on August 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Well, since I never watched “Babewatch, Hawaii” I was unaware of Jason Momoa’s tie there. I’ve only seen him in “Stargate: Atlantis”

David B on August 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Point Blank is the one good film in the August movie cemetery. European art films are generally well written and watchable. Hollywood remakes of them don’t hold up well.

NormanF on August 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm

“Pirates of the I Don’t Care-ibbean” – that’s funny.

People are such dullards like so many morons who will watch “bright, colorful lights” on the screen like a kitten follows a trail of yarn as long as Hollywood throws in some pirates or vampires.

DS_ROCKS! on August 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Anne Hathaway is a nerd. I don’t care what anyone says. Slap a pair of glasses on her and you’ve got a classic, full-on nerd.

Not that there’s anything wrong with nerds. I just don’t like being insulted by Hollywood who think I can’t tell a nerd when I see one.

matt on August 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I had a good time with all the movies I saw this week. Conan was a fun movie for me. I liked the sand monsters. The witch was scary. The action was exciting. The dialogue was corny and pulpy in a way that was, for me, enjoyable because it was laughable. For example, one of Conan’s silly lines was: “I drink, love, and fight, and I am content.” This is definitely a male-fantasy movie, though. For example, when the woman begins to nag at one point, Conan ties her up and puts a gag in her mouth. My main problem with the film was the extreme gore (e.g., heads split open). There was also a short scene of what I’d consider torture porn which I hated.

I also liked Fright Night. This was slicker and tighter than the original with Roddy McDowall. Mintz-Plasse made an excellent nerd, and in fact the whole nerd subplot (lifted from Lost Boys) was a great addition.

I especially liked One Day. This particular romantic subgenre of looking at friendship and romance over long stretches of time is one of my favorites (other examples include Same Time Next Year, Made in Heaven and When Harry Met Sally). I was not bored, and I liked both leads–flawed though their characters were. I haven’t been a fan of Hathaway’s movie choices lately (e.g., Rachel’s Wedding and Devil Wore Prada), but I thought she was cute in this film.

I had a great time with The Guard. This was a British (or Irish) comedy so contained no American-style slapstick whatsoever. Most of the humor was verbal and/or character-based. All the acting was good, especially that of Gleeson and Mark Strong. Political correctness was ridiculed from beginning to end, and I especially loved that.

I guess I had more fun at the theater than you did this week, Debbie. Lucky me.

Burke on August 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

The best part of The Guard was that Irishman Colin Farrel wasn’t in it. Other than that it was a hoot! You have to have develop a taste for Brit (and Irish) humor, so I can’t blame ye Deb.
The only advice I can give ye is it’s funnier every time you watch it.

An Garda Siochanna on August 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I assume you came up with “Pirates Of The I Don’t Caribbean” because you want to be the only critic who isn’t using the much more obvious “Conan The Bore-Barian.”

Irving on August 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I knew Conan was a flop the minute I saw the trailer, the movie was pooly cast with even worse dialogue.
The Guard sounds like an old 1980’s Don Johnson flick I like called Dead Bang.

Koeteus on August 20, 2011 at 2:37 am

No “World on a Wire”? No love for Fassbinder and the German New Wave?
Deb, I’m disappointed.

J.R. on August 20, 2011 at 4:22 am

Part of me wants to see Conan because Momoa was so much fun to watch as Khal Drogo on “Game of Thrones.” I loved “The Guard,” which the filmmakers consider a western, and accordingly has a kick-ass soundtrack by Calexico.

maatkare on August 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

The original Fright Night was quite good. For the day it had excellent special effects with a wonderful bat. It is noteworthy that there was very little blood, and some running humor that spoke of good script writing. The teen romance was very credible.

pat on August 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I must be in good company here. I’ve never understood the Anne Hathaway fascination fan boys have with her. She’s supposedly some great beauty, but she’s just average at best to me.

Why have most of the movies been such garbage this summer? Hollywood always produces garbage, but this summer I can’t recall any good movies.

Jeff_W on August 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Real conservatives don’t like Jews. I hate this blog.

Richard on August 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Richard or should I say “Dick” (which is short for Richard), since you claim that “real conservatives don’t like jews”, the only conservatives who don’t like jews are far-right wingnuts like you Richard/Dick! More likely you’re a Pat Buchanan fan/reader or a Stormfront poster?

    And since I happen to be a “real conservative”, I love this blog and I have alot of respect for Debbie Schlussel herself. And the only conservatives who don’t like her that much are far-right shill-hack conservatives who are jealous her and her investigative work, etc.

    “A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

    Sean R. on August 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    A classic Moby. How quaint.

    For those unfamiliar with this type of troll:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=moby

    pat on August 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Pat, I thank you for that bit of info. That bald troll is hideous!

      Ugh! I recently bought his latest CD because even thou’ I hate him, I really loved
      the concept of the CD (music for when one is alone and outside at like 2am and like 4am and the world seems deserted). I knew I was gonna regret it but the concept was too tempting to me. Ugh!

      Moby, like most uber-Liberals is a uber-hypocrite. The only other CD of his I have is from the 90’s and it’s called “Everything Is Wrong”. At the time he was supposed to be really “Christian” and I knew he was into animal rights. At the time I was starting to get the jist that Liberals were phonies but I never knew what complete monsters they were. So soon after he stops being religious and goes head-first into hedonistic lifestyles. I hate that sh**. I have more respect for out-and-out hedonists that phony religious hypocrites. No wonder he is Liberal.

      And even thou’ I hate Eminem, I LOVED when he was having a go at this wimp. (Even thou’ I thought it was equally funny that supposedly “rough and tough” Eminem was strong-arming a complete and utter wimp. Nothing like the big and bad going after the weak and wussy!)

      Skunky on August 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

lmao@ Richard

I’m a real conservative and I LOOOOOVE the Hebrew people.Especially Debbie “The Jewess” Schlussel.

Maybe you mean Muslim conservatives?

ebayer on August 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Richard, I didn’t know reall Conservatives don’t like Jews, especially since I was VEEP of the original YAF chapter at TCU in the 80s and the President was an Irish Catholic Zionist. You think Conservatives prefer baby beheaders, instead?

Occam's Tool on August 21, 2011 at 1:30 am

I’ve been reading the Conan stories (and other stories) by Robert E. Howard lately, but as for seeing the movie now… meh. The description of violence alone is enough to put me off.

As for Jason Momoa, yes, I know he was part of some “Baywatch” show, but don’t doubt his acting skills; I first knew him as Ronon Dex from “Stargate: Atlantis” (awesome job there!) and then more recently I saw him as Khal Drogo from “Game of Thrones”. The guy does seem fit to play the big, tough roles.

Craig on August 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

Great reviews as usual. I do not support any of the movies that are made currently as they come from hate America leftists.

By reading the comments I learned that Richard is a lonely creep. I can only guess what he must look like. YUK!

And Burke must work for the movie industry or some left leaning org. since he see all of the new movies and likes them.

Fred on August 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Ha.

    Burke on August 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Okay, Fred, your comment about me made me chuckle for a moment, but now I want to write a response. It’s true that I did enjoy the four movies I viewed this week, but that’s only because I didn’t see a liberal subtext in them. Last week, though, I agreed with Debbie that The Help was a despicable example of liberal reverse racism; before that I agreed with Debbie that Planet of the Apes promoted a PETA agenda; and I’ve made no secret of my complete contempt for the slimy filth and liberal vulgarity of movies like Bad Teacher, Friends with Benefits and Horrible Bosses. If you do a little research, you’ll discover that I’ve supported this blog and Debbie’s work with comments and praise almost every week over the last three years (though for a while I wrote on Mondays and Tuesdays rather than Fridays). Last week Skunky–Debbie’s biggest fan (along with Gerald, or course)– generously complimented me on my insights and perspective, and once in the past, Debbie informed me that she even altered her own rating of a movie because I made such a good argument against it. I would say if I’m a liberal plant from a left-leaning site, you’ll have to admit I’ve been very clever about it.

    As for being supported by the industry, I only wish that were true. Thanks to monopolistic extortion by Hollywood unions, ticket prices are way too high, and if I only had a way to have my hobby subsidized, I could probably use the extra money to buy that new sofa my living room desperately needs.

    Burke on August 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm

      Yeah Fred. Burke is right. He is hardly Liberal. You can tell he loves films. I do always enjoy his perspective. And I don’t even see Yank films. I have long loved the art of the movie review over most films (American at least) since I was a teen. I used to even buy Roger Ebert’s book of reviews EVERY year (wishing Gene Siskel did one instead) and I first knew Michael Medved as a movie reviewer long before I even paid attention to politics. Being a movie reviewer was once my dream job.

      Burke has a passion for films. It shows. I enjoy his take even though I don’t ever want to see 99.9% of the films reviewed. I just enjoy when other people share their enthusiasm for something. It’s cool and inspiring.

      Too bad American films are not better. Nothing beats a great film. I still get excited when I see one.

      Skunky on August 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Instead of denouncing movies you’ve never seen, maybe you can see a few instead. I see plenty. That “Hollywood versus America” meme is getting pretty tedious as well as wrong.

    Seek on August 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Seek, I know what movies I like (have since I have been 12) and why you get so shirty about people not liking “movies” is anyone’s guess.

      If a meme is getting old with you, work it out. Since I get to decide what movies I wanna see and I know exactly what I like it will NEVER get old with me. and I never give a stuff if ANYONE doesn’t like a movie I love. As I would hope others would not expect me to like the pap they love.

      I have high movie standards and I like having it that way. But this is still America, so freedom of choice and liberty to see what one wants to see is what I love and I wanna keep it that way.

      Skunky on August 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Debbie and Sean R.,

I saw the “Weird Al” Sharpton thread and saw a post by “old hick”. It contains a link to a racist video. I just left him an angry response. I also used Pat’s link above to the urban dictionary on “moby troll” and gave him credit.

Anyway, I will leave it to you two to decide what to do about it in addition to my own action.

JeffE on August 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

How did you make it through the 80’s without seeing Fright Night?

Blayne on August 22, 2011 at 7:30 am

Hi Debbie,

I’m an hasidic jew that occasionally goes to the movies. My friends always ask me what to see and I turn to your movie reviews the first.

I’m writing to you because of your review of the french film Point Blank. I tend to agree to your reviews but I have followed your advice on 2 french films and I was disappointed. Could be it’s because my general disgust with the french, but I found them lacking in many areas #1 being not in a language u understood.

Thank you for all your great work
keep it up
Be’hatzlacha

Moses on August 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Robert E Howard, author of Conan and other sword swingers was a very articulate writer, who had the unfortunate timing of being hard pressed to earn a living during the great depression. He would’ve committed suicide earlier if he saw what a mockery was made of his prize creation. Conan isn’t just bad in all respects, but any change could’ve greatly improved the film. It’s on the level of subjecting the JRR Tolkien family to a film showing Sauron from LOTR doing a dance number. Paper thin empty characters with an emphasis on blood letting and not story telling. No emotional identification. Prognosis – Wait for the reboot in 20 years to make sure this installment won’t be around to poison it.

Fred on August 23, 2011 at 8:49 am

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